The outbreak of COVID-19 and necessary measures taken to tackle the spread of the virus have made a lot of teachers move their teaching online. Most of us are already pretty used to the whole virtual education at this point but what about conducting festive lessons? Is Thanksgiving cancelled this year? The answer is — no.
We are here to help you to hold a perfect celebration. We have prepared some activities for online Thanksgiving lessons. The tasks are divided according to the age and students’ background knowledge on this holiday.
1st Thanksgiving lesson
If it’s your first year of Thanksgiving celebration in the lesson, then start with pre-teaching basic Thanksgiving vocabulary like Pilgrims, Indians, harvest, turkey, pumpkin pie and so on. You can use the presentation with flashcards. Tell your students about the very first Thanksgiving showing each slide to illustrate a new word.
Here is the presentation and story for YLs
“The Pilgrims (show the flashcard of Pilgrims), the group of travellers who wanted a new church, went from Europe to the New World (show the map) on a ship called the Mayflower (show the flashcard of Mayflower) in 1620. They travelled for 6 weeks. Their first winter in the New World was very long, cold and hard (show the picture of the first winter and mime ‘long’ and ‘cold’). In spring the native Indians (show the flashcard of an Indian) helped them, gave them food and seeds and showed them how to grow corn (show the flashcard of corn). The fall harvest (show the flashcard of harvest) was very good and the Pilgrims had a lot of food for the next winter. They wanted to say thanks to Indians and invited their Indian friends to a big dinner with turkey (show the flashcard of turkey), pumpkin pie (show the flashcard of a pumpkin pie) and other dishes.
Here is the presentation and story for teenagers and adults
“The Pilgrims (show the flashcard of Pilgrims), the group of people who wanted religious freedom, left Europe and travelled to the New World (show the map) on a ship called the Mayflower (show the flashcard of Mayflower) in 1620. About 100 men, women and children sailed for 6 weeks and landed in Plymouth in December. Their first winter in the New World was very cold and hard (show the picture of the first winter), and many of them died. But the native Indians (show the flashcard of an Indian) helped them, gave them food and seeds and taught them how to grow corn (show the flashcard of corn). The fall harvest (show the flashcard of harvest) was very successful, and the Pilgrims had enough food for the coming winter. According to the legend, they decided to celebrate with a day of thanksgiving with a feast (show the flashcard of the feast). Many foods were cooked — turkey (show the flashcard of turkey), duck, pumpkin pie (show the flashcard of a pumpkin pie), squash, corn, sweet mashed potatoes (show the flashcard of the mashed potatoes) and cranberries (show the flashcard of the cranberry sauce). Captain Miles Standish, the leader of the Pilgrims, invited all of the Native Americans who had helped them so much during their first year. Well, many historians say that probably the feast was not a happy one.
Now in the USA Thanksgiving day is a day of giving thanks for all that we have.
Then play a word search game to check how well students remember the words. You can change the format of the game clicking the interactive template on the right.
Teens and adults
Then you can organize a virtual field trip. Explore this website and choose activities to your students’ interest and level of English.
2nd Thanksgiving lesson
If your students already know the basic vocabulary and info about the holiday, do these activities:
You can also play the video and do the quiz.
Your Intermediate+ students can take on the role of a “history detective” to investigate what really happened at the famous 1621 celebration. Along the way, they will read a letter written by an eyewitness to the event, learn about Wampanoag traditions of giving thanks, and visit Pilgrim Mary Allerton’s home.
Don’t forget that an online lesson doesn’t mean that you can’t dance a gobble dance.
Check out more ideas: The Power of Thanksgiving (Lesson Plan for Upper-Intermediate)